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For Self Portrait in Place I made the  quarter  of Paris the canvas and frame for an interactive, dynamic self-portrait/landscape. I settled in the Montmartre neighborhood in June 2020 through May 2021, to be near family during the global pandemic and while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The self portrait focused on this unique time frame. I exhibited it on 16 May, 2021, the last day of strict COVID restrictions, the end of my chemotherapy,in preparation for my move out of the neighborhood at the end of  May.

Portraits  usually register a moment, even as they record it for posterity. They might get at different aspects of what a subject might "be" by changing costume, light or background. They might be compared and aligned following a time-line to get at the passage of time.  I imagined this scattered self-portrait within the confines of a space that was not just a background, but a place viewers could experience. The aspects of me, the subject, intermingled in diverse ways with the quarter I inhabited during this very particular period. To view "me" viewers walked the same streets as I had through the previous 12 months.

This  self portrait  thus  literally mingles "me" with an actual landscape. It  frames in space and time by my life, but also, by the  regulation  of movement and social life set by the state in response to the pandemic. All of the sites that make up the portrait/parcours are within one kilometer of my home: this corresponded to the limits one could wander without special permission slips during the strictest moments of the lock-down.
 

Visitors received a map with the addresses of the different parts of the scattered piece.  At each stop the discovered places I had gotten to know, sometimes enlivened with material objects, often  layered  with on-site objects and  digital  slides shows, videos and audio recordings.

Working through the interrelationship of figure and ground across a dynamic, yet sequestered landscape, I came to notice how  attention to nearby surroundings are intensified by restrictions on movement within Paris , among French regions and internationally. As a walked Montmartre’s abandoned streets , usually thronged with tourists, I devised this project  that asks participants to mime  how tourists move  from site to site, taking photographs, perhaps jotting down notes to assemble and record the total experience of the quarter, and of Paris, and document their own being-there. The work grows through the accumulation of  subjective viewpoints and recordings of the viewer/participants, setting the stage for further research.

Visitor /contributors reflections on the work will be colored by their knowledge of the bucolic, bloody, artistic history of the neighborhood, a wine-making village at the heart of the Paris commune,  marked indelibly by the symbol of power that is  the Sacre Coeur Cathedral. The walk through the quarter by way of my self portrait will also surly evoke visitors own relationship to the quarter and the city:  life in the housing estates that ring the bottom of the hill , with with its move star mansions, shopping at markets where wares from North and West Africa, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are readily available, or others, like the Saint Pierre market where seamstresses from around the region flock to buy remnants of fabric.

Working within these confines, while exploring "me" in different guises through the eyes of others, the artwork expanded the 'scattered subjects" projects to contemplate questions of time and visibility, surveillance and movement and the body.

Habituellement, les autoportraits sont réalisés seuls, en studio, puis accrochés pour être visionnés dans une exposition ou un musée. J'adopte une approche différente pour ce portrait dans le cadre de mon programme de travail en cours sur les « sujets éparpillés ».

Pour mon portrait, j’inclus l'environnement et le spectateur dans le cadre du processus de composition, qui n'est jamais tout à fait complet, jamais entièrement présent, comme n'importe quel sujet dans une œuvre d'art, ou dans la vie.

 

Ce travail intègre naturellement les conditions particulières de mouvement restreint et de distanciation sociale au cours des derniers mois pour tout le monde. Il comprend aussi ma découverte et traitement pour un cancer du sein qui a chevauché les mois de pandémie et qui a transformé une visite à Paris en une migration de retour provisoire.

Pour découvrir l’œuvre, visitez les adresses ci-dessous. Prenez la route qui vous convient. Visitez tous les sites, ou seulement certains d'entre eux. Il n'y a pas de chemin « correct ».

J'ai donné un nom à chaque pièce éparpillée ; cela vous aidera à regarder et à écouter les accompagnements en ligne, listés en rouge ci-dessous. La carte, liste des sites, et liens sont aussi fournis dans l'e-mail d'invitation.

 

Prenez des photos, des notes ou enregistrez vos pensées ou votre itinéraire.  Je les publierai sur le site du projet (de manière anonyme). Votre regard sur les pièces et l'œuvre dans son ensemble aidera à composer l'œuvre au fur et à mesure qu'elle se développe sur le site, puis, dans d'autres lieux et incarnations.